Before the Bell: Volatility is really increasing down on Wall Street, with yesterday's session showing a succession of up-and-down moves on each of the indexes. On point, the Dow Jones Industrial Average started the session sharply in the red, with an early loss of more than 300 points. Then, after bottoming out in the first 90 minutes of trading, the blue chips turned higher for the rest of the session, finally closing within 50 points of their best level of the day. In all, that composite added 200 points. Now, this morning, the stock market is poised to open to the upside on the Dow, but a bit lower on the NASDAQ. Meanwhile,
Things were even more unsettled on the NASDAQ yesterday, where an early loss of some 200 points was suffered. There, too, improvement was shown in the early afternoon before a second wave downward occurred later in the session. However, a final push forward enabled this tech-laden composite to end slightly in the green with an advance of 15 points. In the end, the market would prove successful in its attempt to rebound from back-to-back losses. Several major tech names, off early in the day, ended higher in the late buying campaign.
As to the respective sectors of the market, stocks tied to the economic reopening, such as the airlines and cruise ship operators led the way forward. Among Dow stocks, The Boeing Co. (BA) pushed ahead strongly. The early stock market swoon occurred after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell hinted at one day starting to remove the monetary stimulus that has helped to underpin the Street.
In other markets, oil fell another 4% yesterday as demand concerns resurfaced with new coronavirus lockdowns occurring in some areas offshore. Meanwhile, in economic news, the Labor Department reported a surprise decline in weekly jobless claims in the most recent sever-day stretch, with such filings coming in at 684,000. That was off by 97,000 from the week before and also was below expectations of 730,000. This bullish news for the economy did not have an immediate impact on bond yields, which fell initially, but ended the day unchanged.
Overall, traders continue to balance the positive outlook for earnings and the economy in 2021 with the likelihood of somewhat higher inflation and Treasury yields on notes and bonds. This balance has led investors to often rotate out of so-called growth issues and into value and cyclical stocks. We see this pattern continuing at least in the very short run. – Harvey S. Katz, CFA